Studying nursing

Nursing is a rewarding and challenging career. There are many opportunities to work in diverse settings, and in different roles. Each nursing scope of practice requires a different level of education.

Enrolled nurse

To become an enrolled nurse in New Zealand, you must complete a Nursing Council-approved Diploma in Enrolled Nursing programme (NZQA Level Five programme) from a polytechnic or institute of technology.

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Registered nurse

To become a registered nurse in New Zealand, you must complete a Nursing Council-approved Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Health Science programme (NZQA Level Seven programme) from a polytechnic, institute of technology or university.

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Internationally qualified nurses and nurses returning to practice

If you are an internationally qualified nurse or a New Zealand registered nurse without a current practicing certificate then you may be eligible to complete a Nursing Council-approved Competency Assessment Programme – visit Nursing Return to Practice on the Health Careers website to find out more.

Nurse practitioner

To become a registered nurse practitioner in New Zealand, you must have:

  • registration with the Nursing Council of New Zealand in the registered nurse scope of practice
  • a minimum of four years of experience in a specific area of practice
  • successfully completed a clinically focused master’s degree programme approved by the Nursing Council of New Zealand, or equivalent qualification
  • passed a Nursing Council assessment of nurse practitioner competencies and criteria.

Nurse practitioners seeking registration with prescribing rights are required to have an additional qualification and to have successfully completed an approved prescribing component of the clinically-focused master’s programme relevant to their specific area of practice.

Fnd out more about the nurse practitioner scope of practice on the Nursing Council website.

For more information about nursing education and the education institutes offering nursing courses visit the Nursing Education in the Tertiary Sector website.

Postgraduate nursing education

There are increasing opportunities for nurses to undertake postgraduate study in New Zealand. Find out about postgraduate nursing training funding at Investment and purchasing.